Gambhir must win IPL to Prove Selectors Wrong: Akram

Kolkata: Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram Monday said that Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir must win IPL 5 to prove a point to the Indian selectors who have removed him from the vice-captaincy of the Indian cricket team. Ridiculing the selectors’ decision to drop Gambhir from the Indian vice-captaincy, the KKR bowling coach said: “First time, I saw the vice-captain was dropped after losing. Usually the captain is dropped after losing…I don’t understand what made the selectors to drop him. If I were Gambhir, I would try to win the IPL to prove my point.”

Akram said KKR have a balanced side and every member of the team was enjoying each other’s company. “In general, we have the same team with five or six local players, who have been recruited keeping in mind the future. We have a very good coach in Trevor Bayliss who has immense T20 experience. The best thing about this team is they like each other’s company. They will enjoy the success. This is the secret of any team’s success, to support each other’s success or failure.”

Akram also welcomed the return of New Zealand wicketkeeper batsman Brendon McCullum. McCullum, who represented the Kolkatan team for the first three seasons, played for Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the last edition. “It’s great that he [Brendon McCullum] returns to the team. This team has variety in both batting and bowling. Our captain [Gautam Gambhir] leads from the front. And we have a great hitter in Yusuf Pathan.”

Akram said that the Knight Riders would benefit immensely from sports psychologist Dr Rudi Webster. “When I was a player, I used to speak to my wife as she was a psychologist. The idea to have a sports psychologist is to give confidence to the players going through a lean phase. This guy [Webster] is very experienced having worked with Gary Sobers, Viv Richards, Brian Lara. He is the sports psychologist with cricketing experience. When you are mentally comfortable, it helps in your game.”

He also said that the Kolkatan side was looking forward to playing on any kind of wicket. “Wicket does not make any difference as we have a good side. We all know the Eden wicket, which is a good batting track.”

Asked whether he was looking forward to their contest against the Sourav Ganguly-led Pune Warriors India, Akram said, “It would be a very exciting contest. Sourav is a great friend of mine. I have worked with him, both as a player and commentator. He is a fierce competitor. The pressure will be on him and not on us. First time, we will see him under pressure.”